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IFC Increasing Support to Eastern and Southern Africa to Respond to Financial Crisis


In Nairobi:
Houtan Bassiri
Phone: +254 20 275 9000
Email: hbassiri@ifc.org


Nairobi, Kenya, May 19, 2009—IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, announced today that it is committed to increasing its investments and advisory services in Eastern and Southern Africa to help prevent the global financial crisis from reversing decades of economic and developmental growth in the region.

The announcement comes as IFC continues to increase its staff and resources in Africa as part of a global effort to decentralize and better serve clients. IFC’s office in Nairobi, Kenya serves as its hub for Eastern and Southern Africa.

“IFC will work hard to limit the impact of the global economic crisis on the lives of Africans, especially the most vulnerable,” said IFC Director for Eastern and Southern Africa, Jean Philippe Prosper. “As we respond to the changing economic times, IFC is increasing staff and resources in the region to be more flexible and have a greater developmental impact.”

The World Bank Group, which includes IFC, last week joined with six other international financial and development institutions to provide at least an additional $15 billion over the next two to three years to reduce the effects of the global economic slowdown on Africa. The funds will help promote trade, strengthen the financial sector, and increase lending for infrastructure, agribusiness and small and medium enterprises in Africa.

IFC’s will contribute at least $1.0 billion to facilitate trade, strengthen the capital base of banks, improve infrastructure, increase microfinance lending, and promote agribusiness companies. As part of the initiatives, IFC recently signed an agreement to provide South Africa’s Standard Bank with $400 million from the Global Trade Liquidity Program, which provides funds to banks to help increase trade.

IFC’s strategy in Eastern and Southern Africa focuses on expanding engagement with the private sector, especially in financial markets, tourism, agribusiness, mining, and infrastructure. Activities include direct investments, advisory services, and programs such as the Small and Medium Enterprise Solutions Centers in Kenya and Madagascar, which provide an integrated package of financing and advisory services to smaller businesses.

About IFC
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, creates opportunity for people to escape poverty and improve their lives. We foster sustainable economic growth in developing countries by supporting private sector development, mobilizing private capital, and providing advisory and risk mitigation services to businesses and governments. Our new investments totaled $16.2 billion in fiscal 2008, a 34 percent increase over the previous year. For more information, visit www.ifc.org.